2014 USA Road Trip

Venice, Las Vegas

The first stop was Las Vegas where we visited some exotic hotels such as Venice, in a desert!

We breakfasted under the Eiffel Tower after spending the night in Luxor and walking past the Mirage, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and other pricelessly named hotels.

A taxi we used had LCD TV and was driven by a driver well versed in turning round to talk to passengers while in heavy traffic.

Caesars Palace viewed from across the strip. It was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for billions. Size is everything as the group employs around 67,000 people.

The nearby US Airforce base, Nellis, is home to the entertainingly named Thunderbirds aerobatic team.

There are forty casinos in Las Vegas if you fancy living in air-conditioned artificial light you can avoid sunlight and the heat of the Mojave Desert for a long time.

Water supply is an ongoing problem as Lake Mead cannot cope with demand, bu as you can see there is enough to float gondolas, squirt in the air as fountains and water golf courses.

Caesar's Palace Las Vegas
USA Road Trip
USA Road Trip
Wile E. Coyote in Death Valley

Travelling through Death Valley we met Wile E. Coyote who kept us company for a quarter of an hour, until a passing trooper pulled up.  He asked me very nicely to pull off the road to make way for passing traffic.  His vehicle was the only other one we saw for half an hour!

It was hard to resist saturating the colours and putting “The End” across a Death Valley sunset.

The hottest temperature recorded on earth was 56.7 degrees Celsius at well named Furnace Creek in 1913.  This will disappoint those convinced that modern times are the hottest ever.  Many US temperature, drought and fire records show the controversial truth differing from modern exaggerations.

Sunset in Death Valley
Cold running water in Yosemite

Entering Yosemite there was snow on the ground and ice in the river. By now it was November and the Park Rangers were getting ready to advise road closures with signs at the ready.

The National Park contains the largest unbroken pieces of granite that you are likely to see. 

Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant in 1864 which in turn started the National Park concept in 1872.

Yosemite forest
Yosemite forest

Despite some forest fires there are still millions of acres of beautiful trees.

The Rim Fire of 2013 was the third largest on record and destroyed 500 acres of mostly woodland.

After seeing so many enormous freight trains it was a change to see passengers being carried by rail, in San Francisco.

This one is probably a Caltrain running South from San Francisco to Santa Clara.  Help with identification from any passing railroad buff would be appreciated.

Passenger train in San Francisco
Hill Street Blues

Hill Street Blues, San Francisco on a misty day. Fisherman’s Wharf and many other attractions make up for the November weather.

Golden Gate bridge, the locals say that this view is quite normal and it forms the start of the beautiful coast road leading to Oregon.

The not so Golden Gate bridge
Point Reyes Lighthouse

For those in peril on the sea. Well, those mariners approaching in mid-week!

Daisy at the Guest House Museum, Fort Bragg. Built in 1885 for the Caspar, South Fork and Eastern RR.

Daisy the steam engine
Chief Mate dwarfed by redwood

California is not short of the famous Redwoods. Chief Mate in shot to give a sense of scale.

Mount St Helens lost its peak in 1980 and the fumaroles are still creating a haze.

Mount St Helens